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Olynyk, Harris lead No. 10 Gonzaga past BYU, 83-63

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Olynyk, Harris lead No. 10 Gonzaga past BYU, 83-63

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) Kelly Olynyk was nearly perfect for No. 10 Gonzaga against BYU on Thursday night.

Olynyk scored 26 points on 9-for-9 shooting from the field and 8-for-8 on free throws, and had nine rebounds and five assists as Gonzaga routed BYU 83-63 in a showdown for first place in the West Coast Conference.

``If I can get the ball in the center of the zone, it's hard for a defense,'' Olynyk said. ``The guards were feeding me and we made great plays.''

But there was another player Olynyk wanted to talk about: guard Gary Bell Jr., who held BYU guard Tyler Haws - the WCC scoring leader at 21 points per game coming in - to just one point. Haws had 42 points against Virginia Tech, the most by a Division I player this season. His previous low this season was nine points against Iowa State, and he had scored at least 20 in seven consecutive games coming in.

``Gary Bell Jr. guarded Haws to a `T,''' Olynyk said.

Haws was 0 for 9 from the field, and BYU shot just 35 percent (21 for 59).

``I was ecstatic with how we flew around,'' Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. ``We did a great job on Haws. We did a great job on (Brandon) Davies. We did a great job on the glass.''

Elias Harris added 25 points and 10 rebounds for Gonzaga (18-2, 5-0), which was coming off a last-second loss at No. 9 Butler last weekend.

Josh Sharp and Davies led BYU (15-6, 5-2) with 14 points each.

Gonzaga won the rebound battle 37-29, and outscored BYU 42-28 in the paint. The Zags shot 56.9 percent.

``Between Harris and Olynyk, they just had a fantastic game,'' BYU coach Dave Rose said. ``Offensively we struggled with their size and how physical the game was.''

This one was basically over in the first half.

BYU made only three of its first 16 shots to fall behind 15-8 midway through the first half. Three baskets and a free throw by Harris pushed Gonzaga's lead to 24-12.

The BYU drought continued, and Gonzaga scored 12 straight points for a 36-14 lead.

The Zags led 40-21 at halftime, as Harris and Olynyk had 14 points each in the half.

The 21 points were BYU's lowest in the first half this season. Haws did not score in the first half, missing all six of his shots.

``They sped (Haws) up and were really physical with him,'' Rose said. ``It was tough to get the ball in spots where he was comfortable. Every catch he made, it seemed to be in a spot where it was a little out of the rhythm that he likes to be in.''

The Cougars were shooting just 25 percent (8 for 31) at the break, including just 1 for 10 on 3-pointers. The Zags dominated inside, outscoring BYU 24-8 in the paint in the first half and grabbing eight more rebounds.

The Cougars came out sharper in the second half and their shooting improved, but they couldn't make up much ground.

Davies scored 10 points as BYU cut Gonzaga's lead to 59-46 with 9 minutes left. But every time the Cougars scored, it seemed that Olynyk or Harris would reply for the Zags.

``We knew the game wasn't won at halftime,'' Olynyk said. ``You have to play 40 minutes.''

Gonzaga, which has won three straight against BYU, improved to 114-8 in the McCarthey Athletic Center since it opened in 2004.

Thursday also marked the 125th anniversary of the founding of Gonzaga, and there was a video celebration at halftime that featured basketball alums Ronny Turiaf and Courtney Vandersloot, among others.

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Need to Know: The Redskins appear to be set at center

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Associated Press

Need to Know: The Redskins appear to be set at center

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, February 21, 21 days before NFL free agency starts.

I’m out this week so I’ll be re-posting some of the best and most popular articles of the past few months. Some may have slightly dated information but the major points in the posts still stand. Thanks for reading, as always.

The Redskins appear to be set at center

Originally published 12/19/17

Chase Roullier might have been the Redskins’ fourth choice to play at center this year. But he could be snapping the ball for Washington for a long time.

Kory Lichtensteiger, the starter for the previous three years when healthy, retired. Veteran backup John Sullivan departed as a free agent. Spencer Long started six games this season before knee and quad problems pushed him to the sideline, elevating the rookie Roullier into the starting lineup.

The sixth-round pick started three games before breaking his right hand at some point during the game against the Saints. That’s his snapping hand and him finishing that game was an underrated act of courage this year. But he was out for three games before returning against the Cardinals on Sunday. Jay Gruden was pleased with his play. 

“Chase did good. He did good,” said Gruden. “It was good to see him back in there. His snaps were outstanding and handled the calls and play well.”

That was good but standard praise. What was interesting was what he said next.  

“I like Chase’s progress right now,” he said. “I think he is going to be a very good center for a long time here. It was a great pickup for us in the draft.”

It appears that you can at least pencil in Roullier as the 2018 starter at center, if not put him in with a Sharpie.

Where would this leave Long, who is slated to be a free agent in March? The Redskins could let him walk and go with the younger and cheaper Roullier. They also could sign him to be their starting left guard. That job has belonged to Shawn Lauvao. But Lauvao also is a pending free agent and he is 30 and he has missed large chunks of two of the last three seasons with injuries. When he missed the last 13 games of the 2015 season, Long went in at left guard and played well.

If that happens, that would give the Redskins a starting offensive line consisting entirely of players drafted by the team and with only Trent Williams over the age of 27 in Week 1 of 2018.

Regardless of what happens at left guard, it looks like Roullier will be the man in the middle for 2018 and beyond.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL Combine (3/1) 8
—NFL Draft (4/26) 64
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 200

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3 reasons why the Caps lost to the Lightning

3 reasons why the Caps lost to the Lightning

After a rough start, the Caps battled back to make a game of it against Tampa Bay, but ultimately fell 4-2 to the Lightning. Here's why.

The first period

To put it simply, this game was lost in the opening period. Washington was the better team for the second and third but they could not overcome the 3-0 lead they spotted the Lightning in the first. Beyond the goals, the Caps just did not play well. Even the simplest of plays looked difficult as Washington struggled to get the puck out of their own zone, gave up numerous turnovers and scoring chances and just looked overmatched. Braden Holtby also looked shaky allowing three goals on just eight shots. Usually he is able to cover up some of the mistakes the defense makes it front of him, but he was not there to bail the team out on Tuesday in what was a really rocky start.

RELATED: CHECK OUT THE 3 STARS FROM CAPS-LIGHTNING

Taking a penalty 34 seconds into the game

Entering Tuesday’s game, Tampa Bay boasted the second best power play unit in the league. Playing a disciplined game is part of every game plan, but that is especially true against such a dominant unit. Giving up a penalty just 34 seconds into the game was not an ideal start. The call itself was debatable. Brett Connolly was called for interference when he knocked over Dan Girardi in the offensive zone. The puck was just behind Girardi as he had lost control of it in his skates. The sticking point here is that Girardi no longer had possession and Connolly could have played the puck instead of the player. Most referees would probably let that go with the puck so close, but Connolly was not so lucky. Whether it was a good call or not, the Caps found themselves down a man and down a goal soon after as Brayden Point scored the power play tally.

A missed opportunity from Kuznetsov on one end, a goal for Nikita Kucherov on the other

Even after spotting the Lightning a 3-0 lead, the Caps made a game of it. Lars Eller struck on the power play in the second period and Alex Ovechkin pulled Washington to within one with about nine minutes left to play. Just over a minute later, Evgeny Kuznetsov stole the puck away from Nikita Kucherov, the frontrunner for league MVP this season, at the Tampa blue line giving the Caps a short 2-on-1. Defenseman Andrej Sustr was textbook on the play forcing Kuznetsov as far wide as he could go while still covering the passing lane and Kuznetsov elected to shoot from the faceoff dot rather than attempt the pass to T.J. Oshie.Andrei Vasilevskiy made a routine blocker save to deny what looked like a great opportunity to tie the game. As always happens in hockey, a failed opportunity on one end led to an opportunity in the other direction. Less than a minute later, Kucherov made up for his mistake by scoring a breakaway goal to put the game out of reach at 4-2.

MORE CAPITALS: KEMPNY EXCITED TO MOVE FROM LAST PLACE CHICAGO TO FIRST PLACE WASHINGTON